An Indian child climate change activist has rejected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s offer to join a campaign for International Women’s Day.
On Friday, the Indian government took to Twitter to share the story of eight-year-old environmental activist Licypriya Kangujam, from Manipur, as an inspiration for Modi’s #SheInspiresUs campaign.
“@mygovindia @LicypriyaK is an [sic] child environmental activist from Manipur. In 2019, she was awarded a Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Children Award, a World Children Peace Prize, and an India Peace Prize. Isn’t she inspiring? Do you know someone like her? Tell us, using #SheInspiresUs,” the government posted on the site.
Kangujam tweeted back on Saturday, rejecting the honor.
“Thank you for selecting me amongst the inspiring women of the country under your initiative #SheInspiresUs. After thinking many times, I decided to turn down this honour. Jai Hind!” she said, explaining that she rejected the offer because the prime minister did not “listen” to the climate change activists’ demands.
The child activist has been pressing, among other things, for regulations on carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases.
narendramodi Ji,— Licypriya Kangujam (@LicypriyaK) March 6, 2020
Please don’t celebrate me if you are not going to listen my voice.
Thank you for selecting me amongst the inspiring women of the country under your initiative #SheInspiresUs. After thinking many times, I decided to turns down this honour. 🙏🏻
Jai Hind! pic.twitter.com/pjgi0TUdWa
She further told The Indian Express that it was an honor to attain recognition from the government but she could not see her demands to curb climate change fall on deaf ears.
“It (the campaign) may be a good initiative to them, but considering the crimes against women and children, I don’t think it can solve anything. This will be like applying a fairness cream on our face, which no longer stays once you clean yourself,” she said. “Instead, I want him (Modi) to listen to my voice and our leaders to take climate change seriously.”
Modi has intended the #SheInspiresUs to be a social media campaign dedicated to women “whose life and work will help ignite motivation in millions.”
“This Women’s Day, I will give away my social media accounts to women whose life & work inspire us. This will help them ignite motivation in millions. Are you such a woman or do you know such inspiring women? Share such stories using #SheInspiresUs,” Modi had tweeted on March 3.
Kangujam said, “I believe my rejection will force the government to pay heed to my demands. I have neither been called nor invited to discuss my concerns. Our leaders and politicians never consider climate change to be a serious issue and that is perhaps is the saddest part,” she added.